The respiratory care program has been cut from the School of Health Sciences.
Upon hearing the news, senior respiratory care majors Jen Maddaloni and Amanda Blaschke felt their jaws drop in shock. News that their program will soon be phased out of Quinnipiac’s curriculum came as an unexpected blow.
Some students believe that the decision to cut the respiratory care funding and deny incoming freshman a part in the program is an unjust and unreasonable action by the university.
“Did we once get notification about the thought of the program closing? Were we invited to meetings to discuss our thoughts? Was our opinion even wanted? No. And that makes me extremely upset,” Blaschke, who will graduate in May, said.
The university has been concerned with the program for over eight years. According to Dean of Health Sciences Joseph Woods, the respiratory care program has dropped by almost half of what it was just five years ago. There are now only approximately 20 students across four years left in the program.
The health sciences department conducts an annual evaluation of their programs to assess each department’s situation.
“There is a constant review of these enrollments with a sense that those programs that continue at solid level enrollments or programs that have rising enrollments will continue to receive the resources they need to flourish,” Woods said.
This past week, the School of Health Sciences put forth the funding to offer the first doctoral program in the physical therapy field, one of the departments more popular majors.
Respiratory care students do not think the emphasis should be on enrollment and revenue.
“Yes, money makes the world go ’round, but so do healthcare providers,” Blaschke said.
The students say that the increased demand for respiratory therapists should excite Quinnipiac for being able to provide qualified students immediately to the field as soon as they graduate. The university’s intensive program is able to offer students a bachelor’s degree in health science and a certificate of completion from the respiratory care department after the first semester of their senior year.
Some members of the senior class have already taken advantage of this opportunity and, if they pass their certification exam, will be ready to start working at their first choice hospital in Connecticut.
“It is a program that produces students who want to help people and give something back to the community,” Theresa O’Keefe, junior respiratory care major, said. “For all the hours we put in every day, we have proved that we are dedicated to this field, but the university is ignoring our efforts and is focusing directly on profit.”
Each respiratory care student completes two eight-hour days every week of medical surgical clinical in the first semester of junior year and complete three full shifts a week in an intensive care unit in the second semester. Senior year, students participate in another critical care clinical as well as two days per week of a pediatric and neonatal clinical.
Dean Woods insists that the result is not directly the school’s fault. He blames the American Association for Respiratory Care for not putting forth the efforts and adequate literature to keep the program at Quinnipiac alive.
“I do not think the association put the quality time that other institutes in the health science department have in establishing the tap into the secondary school arena to begin getting these kids to start thinking about a job in their field,” Woods said. He also assures students that there is a strong emphasis on taking care of those who will finish out the program.
Members in the four-year program have gone to health fairs promoting the major and occupation, walked in the American Lung Association Asthma Walk and attempted to have newspapers follow them to gain recognition. All of these efforts have not been enough to save the program.
“With some help from the administration at Quinnipiac University, our program could have been saved,” Maddaloni said.
Quinnipiac President John Lahey was unavailable for comment.
The program is the second health science major to be phased out. The clinical laboratory science program was phased out three years ago.